FORECAST: loss of a sense of smell reliable indicator of Covid-19

Researchers at the University College London and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), London, UK, have found that the vast majority of participants with new onset loss of smell were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, and this acute loss of sense of smell needs to be considered globally as a criterion for self-isolation, testing and contact tracing in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Indeed, the authors noted that the loss of a sense of smell may be a more reliable indicator of Covid-19 than cough or fever.

Obesity medicine specialists are using evidence-based care

In a survey of physicians, certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM), by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, has found that these practitioners commonly offer key services supported by scientific research and clinical trials. This suggests that primary care clinicians can be increasingly confident that their patients will receive this ‘evidence-based care’ when referred to an obesity specialist.

EASO and ECPO urge patients to continue treatment

The European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) and the European Coalition for People Living with Obesity (ECPO) are urging patients to continue their treatment for obesity and not to let it lapse because of fears about COVID-19. The organisations are very concerned that people seeking treatment for overweight and obesity have either postponed or stopped seeking medical advice because of fears they may be putting themselves at risk.

Genetic variants, obesity and brain processes

Some people are at higher risk of developing obesity because they possess genetic variants that affect how the brain processes sensory information and regulates feeding and behaviour, according to findings from scientists at the University of Copenhagen. The outcomes support a growing body of evidence that obesity is a disease whose roots are in the brain.

People with obesity may have reduced brain plasticity

People who are severely overweight are less likely to be able to re-wire their brains and find new neural pathways, a discovery that has significant implications for people recovering from a stroke or brain injury. In the paper, ‘Obesity is Associated with Reduced Plasticity of the Human Motor Cortex’, published in Brain Sciences, researchers from UniSA and Deakin University report0 that brain plasticity is impaired in people with obesity, making it less likely that they can learn new tasks or remember things.

Excess abdomen associated with higher risk of early death

Excess fat stored around the abdomen (central fatness) is associated with a higher risk of early death from any cause, regardless of overall body fat, whereas larger hips and thighs are associated with a lower risk, according to researchers from Iran and Canada. The results suggest that measuring central fatness may be a more reliable indicator of risk of death from excess weight and could be used alongside body mass index to help determine the risk of premature death.

Weight-loss threshold for improved cardiac health

Five to 10 percent of surgically induced weight loss is associated with improved life expectancy and cardiovascular health compared with about 20 percent weight loss is necessary to observe similar benefits with a non-surgical treatment, according to researchers from Cleveland Clinic. In comparison. The findings also show that metabolic surgery may contribute health benefits that are independent of weight loss.

CDC: US obesity rates increase, worsens outcomes from COVID-19

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that adult obesity prevalence is increasing and adults with obesity are at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. The ‘2019 Adult Obesity Prevalence Maps’ show that twelve states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia) now have an adult obesity prevalence at or above 35%, an increase from nine states in 2018 and six states in 2017.

UK Biobank identifies thousands of undiagnosed cases of T2DM

A study of approximately 200,000 blood samples from the UK Biobank has identified more than 2,000 undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes, according to a study presented at this year's Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). As UK Biobank data is not reported back to participants, patients found to have undiagnosed diabetes waited on average more than two years for a clinical diagnosis and around a quarter remained undiagnosed five years later.

Mechanism allowing immune cells to regulate obesity identified

Researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), Madrid, Spain, have shown how immune system cells, macrophages, have a key role in the regulation of obesity and the findings could be useful in the development of new treatments for people with obesity and overweight, and for some associated pathologies, including fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes.

Metabolic surgery in patients with hypertension decreases the risk of MACEs

Metabolic surgery benefits people with morbid obesity and hypertension reducing their risk of major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE), according to a study, ‘Association between metabolic surgery and cardiovascular outcome in patients with hypertension: A nationwide matched cohort study’, published in PLoS Med.

The emerging obesity paradox - cardiovascular risk of HIV

Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia scientists are investigating an emerging obesity paradox that a new generation of HIV drugs appear to cause weight gain, which appears to limit, rather than increase patients' already significant risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Although these newer generation of HIV drugs have turned the once-lethal infection into a chronic condition, cardiovascular disease has emerged as the leading cause of death in these individuals.

COVID-19 and microbiota increase disease severity in obesity and diabetes

The combined effects of the body's microbiota working together with COVID-19 in the lungs could explain the severity of the disease in people with obesity and diabetes, according to a paper, 'Obesity and diabetes as comorbidities for COVID-19: Underlying mechanisms and the role of viral–bacterial interactions', published in eLife,

Enrolment begins in ReShapeCare - a reimbursable, evidence-based virtual weight management programme

ReShape Lifesciences has announced that the first 25 healthcare providers have partnered with ReShapeCare since the programme's launch in June of this year, allowing referrals of their patients to the reimbursable, virtual weight-management programme. Patients within the programme include individuals currently receiving treatment, those who may have lost continuity of care, patients pursuing bariatric surgery and those involved in a medically supervised weight-loss programme.

Ethicon launches Echelon Endopath Staple Line Reinforcement buttress solution

Ethicon has launched the of Echelon Endopath Staple Line Reinforcement (SLR), a novel buttressing device designed to further strengthen staple lines and reduce potential complications during bariatric, thoracic and general surgical procedures, in the US. This is the company’s first buttress solution designed for use with its own industry-leading Echelon Flex Powered Staplers with GST reloads, which have been associated with a lower rate of air leaks and bleeding complications1,2. 

Increased risk of adverse outcomes for COVID-19 patients with sleep apnoea

People who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea could be at increased risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19, according to a study from the University of Warwick. The conclusion is drawn from a systematic review of studies that reported outcomes for COVID-19 patients that were also diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea.

Microbes in the gut may influence metabolism

A study in mice has found that the estimated ten trillion bacteria living in your digestive system may shape your metabolism, as well as directly influencing biological processes from bowel movements to behaviour. Researchers in Daniel Mucida's Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology at Rockefeller University, have identified a particular type of gut neuron that controls blood sugar levels, influencing appetite.